In the news: Madeleine Atkins

November 7, 2003

If Coventry University considers itself an enterprising institution now, it can expect to be shouting louder about it when its new vice-chancellor, Madeleine Atkins, takes up her post next September.

Professor Atkins, currently pro vice-chancellor of Newcastle University, leads by example. Her spin-off company, which designed multimedia training packages, was so successful that it was snapped up by a multinational publishing firm.

At Newcastle, she helped to introduce an enterprise strategy that was designed to improve graduates' attractiveness to top employers and to support students who want to set up their own business after graduation.

Coventry's strong record of working with employers, built up over the past 16 years under vice-chancellor Michael Goldstein, made it a "sound base" from which to develop more ambitious enterprise and innovation strategies, Professor Atkins said.

"I would like Coventry to become the partner of choice for employers and regional agencies, but also to reach a little wider. We need to continue in that direction and maybe 'put on sale' more of what we have to offer," she said.

Professor Atkins, 51, has put considerable effort into building partnerships during her nine years at Newcastle. She chairs the education and training committee of Universities for the North East, is a member of the regional development agency's education forum and a board member of Tyne and Wear Learning and Skills Council. Her commitment to widening participation led her to oversee the introduction of the "Partners" programme, run with local schools and colleges.

She believes that enterprise, innovation and collaboration are the most vital development areas for new universities. "I am very much committed to that kind of partnership working, and as a modern university, I think Coventry must consider that third strand to be increasingly important."

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